A Quilting Experiment

Quilting has had a somewhat slow start this year.  My rattlesnake quilt has its black border completed, but it is still missing its final, narrow red, outer border. I had thought I might finish the quilt top over the New Year’s weekend.  When that did not happen, I planned to finish it during this, the first week of the new year.  Then I assured myself, with absolute confidence, that I would  finish it up over the weekend, which ended up meaning today.  The quilt is ironed, the red fabric has been chosen and ironed, and both are hanging over the movable hanger rack I use for drying laundry, as they have been for several days at least.  It does give me an excuse to not do laundry, but I am a bit disappointed that I do not have the quilt top finished, especially when so little remains to be done.

I do have some ideas for quilting it, however, one of which involves a bit of an experiment for me.  I don’t have a new picture of my quilt top, so I will share this repeat from last month to remind you want I am working with:

best quilt assistant

It now has a wide black border all around, and looks something like this mock up, but with the narrow red inner border and eventually with another red outer border:

rattlesnake 1

The challenge for quilting is that the block corners where the paper pieced parts come together are EXTREMELY bulky and frankly sometimes lumpy.  I do not think it makes sense to quilt anywhere near those corners.  The black borders also present something of an opportunity and a challenge.  They provide the only open space and plain background that will show off the dense quilting I tend to like, but I don’t want to lose overall balance given that the blocks themselves will not show heavy quilting and the complex piecing may make it easier to stick with simpler quilting.  What I would like to do is see how I can integrate the different parts of the quilt through the quilting.  And I think I have an idea how!

Recently I came across the work of Carol Ann Waugh and I am fascinated.  She uses a variety of stitches and thread colors and types to create very rich and intricate quilts.   Here are a few pictures:

The header pic for this post is her Celebration quilt, which you can find here.  I have signed up for her Craftsy Course, and I hope to integrate her techniques into this quilt.  My plan is to use half and quarter circles starting in the middle of the ‘rattlesnake’ portion of the block and curving over to the middle of the rattlesnake portion of the next block.  Essentially, the main line will echo the basic shape of the block, but offset. Rather than quilting very densely, I may be able to just do key lines but echo each one a few times them using a variety of stitches.  If  I use some thread colors from the blocks, and some grey and black, I may be able to get an interesting combination of texture and pattern.  I am not 100% sure about using a variety of colors of thread.  It would be fun, and it fits her technique, but I am pretty sure one of the early classes tells you not to use solid fabric!

That may be as clear as mud to those of you reading the description, but there is a clear idea in my mind.  Before I can start working on translating it into reality, though, I am going to have to get that border on.  And come up with a quilt back.  Hopefully you will soon be seeing a sandwiched top.  Wish me luck!




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  1. Luck to you! Your quilt is a beautiful piece of artwork! I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I once took a tailoring class where we used a wooden mallet like thing to hammer flatter some bulky seams. I’ve pondered doing it with bulky quilt seams, but not tried it yet.

    Always so hard to anticipate how a quilting idea will look; I wait with bated breath. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That looks like a challenge, but an exciting one. Taking the class and experimenting with practice pieces will help you define your plan. I’ll look forward to seeing it progress!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You have come so far since I last saw the rattlesnake quilt. Really looking good!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed Carol Ann Waugh’s class and still use the combo of hand and machine stitching she teaches. Hope you get lots of inspiration from it.

    Liked by 1 person

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